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War And Peace 7


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so she hurried to the rescue. Pierre had managed to start a conversation with the abbe about the balance of power, and the latter, evidently interested by the young mans simple-minded eagerness, was explaining his pet theory. Both were talking and listening too eagerly and too naturally, which was why Anna Pavlovna disapproved. "The means are... the balance of power in Europe and the rights of the people," the abbe was saying. "It is only necessary for one powerful nation like Russia--barbaric as she is said to be--to place herself disinterestedly at the head of an alliance having for its object the maintenance of the balance of power of Europe, and it would save the world!" "But how are you to get that balance?" Pierre was beginning. At that moment Anna Pavlovna came up and, looking severely at Pierre, asked the Italian how he stood Russian climate. The Italians face instantly changed and assumed an offensively affected, sugary expression, evidently habitual to him when conversing with women. "I am so enchanted by the brilliancy of the wit and culture of the society, more especially of the feminine society, in which I have had the honor of being received, that I have not yet had time to think of the climate," said he. Not letting the abbe and Pierre escape, Anna Pavlovna, the more conveniently to keep them under observation, brought them into the larger circle.
CHAPTER IV
Just then another visitor entered the drawing room: Prince Andrew Bolkonski, the little princess husband. He was a very handsome young man, of medium height, with firm, clearcut features. Everything about him, from his weary, bored expression to his quiet, measured step, offered a most striking contrast to his quiet, little wife. It was evident that he not only knew everyone in the drawing room, but had found them to be so tiresome that it wearied him to look at or listen to them. And among all these faces that he found so tedious, none seemed to bore him so much as that of his pretty wife. He turned away from her with a grimace that distorted his handsome face, kissed Anna Pavlovnas hand, and screwing up his eyes scanned the whole company. "You are off to the war, Prince?" said Anna Pavlovna. "General Kutuzov," said Bolkonski, speaking French and stressing the last syllable of the generals name like a Frenchman, "has been pleased to take me as an aide-de-camp...." "And Lise, your wife?" "She will go to the country." "Are you not ashamed to deprive us of your charming wife?" "Andre," said his wife, addressing her husband in the same coquettish manner in which she spoke to other men, "the vicomte has been telling us such a tale about Mademoiselle George and Buonaparte!" Prince Andrew screwed up his eyes and turned away. Pierre, who from the moment Prince Andrew entered the room had watched him with glad, affectionate eyes, now came up and took his arm. Before he looked round Prince Andrew frowned again, expressing his annoyance with whoever was touching his arm, but when he saw Pierres beaming face he gave him an unexpectedly kind and pleasant smile. "There now!... So you, too, are in the great world?" said he to Pierre. "I knew you would be here," replied Pierre. "I will come to supper with you. May I?" he added in a low voice so as not to disturb the vicomte who was continuing his story. "No, impossible!" said Prince Andrew, laughing and pressing Pierres hand to show that there was no need to ask the question. He wished to say something more, but at that moment Prince Vasili and his daughter got up to go and the two young men rose to let them pass. "You must excuse me, dear Vicomte," said Prince Vasili to the Frenchman, holding him down by the sleeve in a friendly way to prevent his rising. "This unfortunate fete at the ambassadors deprives me of a pleasure, and obliges me to interrupt you. I am very sorry to leave your enchanting party," said he, turning to Anna Pavlovna. His daughter, Princess Helene, passed between the chairs, lightly holding up the folds of her dress, and the smile shone still more radiantly on her beautiful face. Pierre gazed at her with rapturous, almost frightened, eyes as she passed him. "Very lovely," said Prince Andrew. "Very," said Pierre. In passing Prince Vasili seized Pierres hand and said to Anna Pavlovna: "Educate this bear for me! He has been staying with me a whole month and this is the first time I have seen him in society. Nothing is so necessary for

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